instagram really does hate me.

i’m on the verge of having my instagram account deleted, at least so they say. 

their machine now detects words like onlyfans or porn,  and gives you not a warning, but an immediate strike against your account. this has now happened to me three different times in recent months; there’s a list of each offending post in my settings.

one, a performative art piece that like most of my artwork straddles the lines of disgusting and attractive, I’m pouring an entire glass of milk over my face. The caption says “MFA stands for Messy Food Art, right?”

another one is a meme of a 90’s television on a rolling shelf, the kind the AV kids would wheel in to your classroom in order to watch a film. without looking it up verbatim i believe it was a meme about how you knew a substitute teacher was in your class that day. it’s a meme about “calling it in” and i made it sex-work-themed buy typing “buy my nudes” on the image of the televesion. 

there was no link, and no nudes. it was a reflection on a meme, one in which a sex worker just posts “buy my nudes” because they are tired and calling it in. it wasn’t a great joke, but it also was not solicitation. 

the third one was solicitation, well, it was promotion. i fucked up, it was a post with a link to my onlyfans, through a domain i bought called so i could always use it even if onlyfans died. but the post wasn’t flagged by someone, is was automatically detected. some machine somewhere saw my link and gave me the strike. in-house.

so that’s where i am at. and i’m torn because what does well for me on instagram are the things they dont want me to post. a majority of my followers follow me because i am in porn scenes, or model lingerie, or kiss girls at parties, and they want to see that. because instagram and other social media sites have largely banned adult content, other places like onlyfans have popped up as porn-friendly social media – but you can’t “solicit” – so i can basically post hot photos, but not too hot, and only the right type of hot photo, but i can’t tell you where to go to see more, i can’t even tell you what i do for a living. so the majority of my followers now only see me as a hot girl they can comment on, and not a sex worker they can buy porn from. it also means that my friends, family, and partner all see my posts as legitimate personal posts and not coded marketing. i get frustrated and forget to sign in to my “personal” instagram to be my “real” self on another profile for a social media company that doesn’t give a fuck about me. i don’t know who im talking to on my main account anymore, and anyways, i’m no longer searchable, so it’s basically just my friends and partner seeing me anyways? where do i even work anymore? what do i even do? even my paintings and collages get flagged for nudity. so i give up, you’re just getting whatever’s on my phone that wont kill my account. whatever thirst trap says “i promise i’m not soliciting, but also please know i’m still working?”

it is an actual living nightmare for any sex worker, but if you can imagine being a queer one who doesn’t appreciate the attention of straight men without cash attached, you can understand why being hot on instagram is a touchy subject for me now, and why i’m convinced that instagram hates me, because i am fat and queer and only want to play their “hot or not” game for my own financial gain. i’m probably the person Mark Zuckerberg always imagined taking him down, perhaps the one he pays to take him down hourly in a well lit dungeon in SOMA. i’d never tell. but i’m exactly his type, the kind who will only play his game if there’s money involved. I’ve got a sexy ugly fat face and a bad fattie diet coke body that pisses him off and i’m sure that accounts for a lot of why i live in the shadows while other models seem to be playing the game just right, for free, for him. 

i guess it is okay. i just wish i could leave the platform without immediately having people catfish my name and make fake posts, which is what happens when porn stars get deleted from social media. My only choice is to let the platform hate me, so I’m currently dealing with how to best present the “courtney trouble” ness of my life without actually being “courtney trouble” and that is a big transition indeed, for a sex worker who has been peddling smut online since 2002. it will take some time, and hopefully i wont get deleted while i’m learning to work the machine the way they’ve rigged it. 

in the meantime, it would be super awesome if people who weren’t queer sex workers would have some common sense when they see our posts, know we are working, elevate our craft, and protect us when they can. please, pay for your porn, buy things from sex workers, and encourage your communities to do the same. that’s the best possible way you could have our backs while we’re facing so much corporate discrimination from Big Tech.

I have channeled some of my energy into this upcoming YNOT Summit panel, Instagram Hates You! Is It Still Worth It?